Duncan's Security Blog An enthusiasts musings


Ultima Online nostalgia

After updating my about page, a few readers have asked me what I got up to, and in which game. I spent many years playing on the local emulated Ultima Online "shards" (most of them). It has now been many years since I last roamed Britannia, but there are still many who do so. Thinking back to my escapades brings strong feelings of nostalgia, so I decided to write a quick post about some of my favorite anecdotes.

#1 Pot plant black market

On Chyrellos, I discovered that certain static objects (specifically pot plants, of all types) where not locked down. This meant I was able to pick them up, and put them into my backpack/bank. This was before crafters were able to make pot plants, and I got the idea of selling these pot plants to homeowners. The business was a booming success, no one knew where I was getting them from. The sale of these plants had to be done quietly though, because the staff members would put a stop to it, if they knew. I also discovered that the plants would respawn every day. So I had a map and schedule of every single city and its unlocked plants, ready for me to collect on schedule.

#2 Intelligence gathering

In times of guild war, each side would always look for an unsuspecting enemy to pounce on. The best piece of information at a guild leaders disposal, was the location of all the houses of the enemy guilds members (or better, an unattended macro spot). Knowing this, I would run around the entire map, every morning at 2am. While doing so, I would record the location and owner of every house I found. Needless to say, I saw some very interesting things while doing the rounds. Trading my information was also rather lucrative.

#3 Macro scripts

Having a bit of programming experience, it was always very rewarding when a complicated script worked perfectly. Scripts complete with world save event detection, lag detection, backpack management, recall logic and enemy detection were works of art. My personal favorite was a mining script which mined every block of a cave, threw out trash, kept myself fed, dropped a portable smelting forge (illegal, of course), smelted ingots, moved ingots to a pack llama, kept the pack llama fed, and eventually recalled home to start my smithy script.

#5 Arrow stealing

Some people would macro archery by finding a bowyer in a secluded city, and shoot at the butte. Every once in a while, they would retrieve their arrows from the butte, and repeat. Finding these people was quite rewarding, because there were plenty of free arrows to be had.

#6 Explosion trading

In the early days, there was a bug in the player trading window. If you were quick, once the other user had accepted the trade, you could drop an activated explosion potion into your side of the window, and accept the trade. The potion would appear in the other players backpack, locked down, and counting down till it exploded. Boom!

#7 Gate riding

Stealth was a marvelous skill. Using it to quietly slip through someone elses gate without them knowing, could often take you into their house. This could be very beneficial, because people have loads of loot in their houses. I once snuck in to an enemy guilds guild house, and poisoned all of their sparring weapons. Fun times.

#8 Social engineering

The things I could make people believe... I was given houses, ritted weapons, good quality armour... Pretty much everything. Just by convincing users I was someone who I was not. Authentication anyone?

#9 Tampering with a macroers backpack

With the snooping skill, I would rifle through a macroers backpack. Users would often place items in specific places, and configure their script to click on a certain screen location. Moving their items around would render their script useless, and they would stand doing nothing all night. I know that some staff abused their powers to do this too. Luckily, my scripts selected items based on their ID, not their location.

#10 Looting high value targets

Looting other players was usually forbidden, but stealthing up to a high value critter while a group of people are having a go at it, would put me in position to loot the corpse as it dropped.

#11 Strange coloured horses

I discovered that if I was riding a horse, and I came across a doppelganger, after killing the doppelganger a wild horse would be left behind... In the same colour as my armour!

Thats all I can think of right now, but I will add more as I remember them. I got up to a lot of mischief in my days, but it was all part of the fun, and thats what gaming is about, right? I never did something as bad as interrupting a ritual... That would be just evil.

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